We must have looked like we had seen a ghost as we ran through the city. I mean, I’m used to getting awkward looks from mortals, it’s all part of being a demigod, but the stares that we got in Los Angeles as we ran through the streets running from something that wasn’t there and looking like we might die at any second were enough to beat any other I had gotten before. It was only made even worse by the fact that I still wasn’t wearing a shirt and that Justin looked like he had just been through a wrestling match with a lion.
Because of that, our first stop, before we went to the airport, was at a rather trendy department store where Justin and I were able to get a change of clothes and Sarah, in her usual fashion, wasted a whole lot of time that didn’t need to be wasted. She was only willing to leave when I reminded her that a giant flying lizard that could incinerate us just by breathing was hot on our trail. We were out of the store pretty fast once that was mentioned.
From there, we made our way to Los Angeles International Airport where we ran into a whole new mess of trouble. Of course, anyone would question why three teenagers were trying to board a plane with no identification, no parents, and basically no way of proving that we legitimately needed to get to New York as soon as possible. Lucky for us, Sarah was still a master of persuasion and she…convinced the staff at the airport to look the other way. With her doing all of the talking, we were through security and sitting on our plane within an hour, which was pretty good considering what we had to go through, but was still longer than I had hoped for.
As the plane took off, I started imagining everything that might go wrong. On top of the fact that there was a dragon still after us, not to mention that he could catch up to us at any moment, there was also the fact that I had never flown before, which caused me to do more than just freak out. Seriously, the moment we were in the air, a million different scenarios ran through my head, all of them ending with the plane burning up in a fiery inferno and no one surviving the ordeal. How Justin and Sarah were remaining calm was beyond me.
That wasn’t even my worst fear though. As I realized that we were in the sky, it also occurred to me that I was still, despite how much I wished it weren’t so, a son of Hades. That meant that the child of the most hated god was currently within the realm of Zeus, the most powerful god, who was surely very aware of who I was by that point and was probably thinking up all kinds of different ways that he could kill me. Yeah, that didn’t make me feel any better about flying. I just had to hope that Apollo and Aphrodite would keep Zeus from incinerating their children.
The plane finally leveled out, after what felt like forever, and the trip became smooth, which put me a bit at ease, but not entirely. I managed to distract myself by talking to Sarah and Justin, who were both more than eager to hear about my latest dream, despite the fact that I was less than eager to talk about it. After I told them about my dream, we talked over it for a bit.
“So this Kronos guy,” Justin said, “He sent that dragon? He’s the one trying to kill us?”
I nodded. “That’s what I think,” I said, “He wants me to help him break free of his prison or something.”
“And how does he expect you to do that,” Justin asked, “Just go down to Tartarus and bust the top of the sarcophagus open?”
I stared at the seat in front of me as I thought about it. “I don’t think so,” I said, “I think he wants me to become a vessel for him. He needs some way to move around and face the gods while he recovers his full power.”
“That doesn’t make sense,” Sarah said, “Why would he need you?”
We all fell silent as the question lingered in the air. None of us spoke the answer out loud, but we all knew what it was. The prophecy. Whatever it said, it must have had something to do with me either releasing Kronos and helping him to destroy Olympus, or stopping him from rising somehow. As far as I was concerned, that would be the easiest choice of my life.
“He needs a child of the elder gods,” I said, “I guess any of them would do, but I’m the only one that exists right now. That makes me the only demigod strong enough to contain his power…without turning to dust of course.”
“So you’re the center of attention now,” Justin said, “Must be nice.”
“Not as nice as you’d think,” I commented.
Justin didn’t answer me. Instead, he turned his head and started staring out of the window next to him like he was thinking really hard about something. I wasn’t sure what it was about what I had said that caused him to turn like that so suddenly, but I chose to ignore it for the time. I didn’t think that asking him about it would help.
“Whatever the case,” Sarah said breaking the tension, “I’m guessing that we’re going to have to stop this Kronos guy eventually.”
I nodded, turning my attention away from the sulking son of Apollo. “Whether he’s at full strength or not, he’s still going to be a threat once he’s strong enough to break himself free,” I said, “And not just to us or Olympus, but the whole world.”
“Saving the world,” Justin said in a whisper so that I barely heard him, “Maybe that’ll do it.”
The rest of our trip was made mostly in silence. Justin didn’t speak up anymore after he said that. Sarah and I were back and forth in random conversations that were mostly pointless, but were a good distraction from the idea that an evil titan might be trying to destroy the world…and from the endless stream of scenarios that I was thinking up in which we could all die in a fiery plane crash.
Sarah and I had a long talk about Emily while on the plane. She wanted to know everything she could about my sister, something about possibly knowing where she might go if she knew her better. I was pretty open about the subject. After all, I had grown to trust both Sarah and Justin more than I had anyone else, almost as much as Emily, over the past months. Besides that, I thought that Sarah, being an experienced run-away herself, might actually be on to something when she started questioning me. All that talk about my sister was starting to make me eager to get to New York though. I must have had the biggest smile on my face when the pilot came over the intercom and said we would be landing within the hour.
“No way,” I heard Justin say next to me some time after the pilot’s voice faded off of the intercom.
I looked past him and out of the window. Everything seemed normal, other than the dark storm clouds that were gathering around the plane. I looked out over the skyline, able to see for miles. As far as I could tell, there wasn’t anything out of the ordinary going on. Maybe Justin was just seeing things again. Of course, that was when our trip went horribly wrong.
The clouds outside grew thicker and it started raining. Before long, thunder and lightning joined the storm. It all happened so suddenly that I thought the whole thing to be pretty odd. Then I thought about Zeus and it made more sense to me. As I watched the storm beginning to whip up a fury outside, something smashed into the side of the plane and the whole of it lurched to the side.
Justin, Sarah and I were lifted out of our seats and thrown into the wall next to us. We fell back into a sitting position, each of us looking to the opposite side of the plane and wondering what had happened. Everything seemed normal, passengers were fastening their seatbelts, some of them complaining about the bumpy ride, but I knew that something was very wrong. I thought for sure that Zeus had everything to do with this, but would he really kill all of these mortals just to get rid of me?
“Sorry about that folks,” the pilot said over the intercom, “We’ll be experiencing a bit of turbulence here, but we should be okay. Please fasten your seatbelts at this time.”
“Turbulence,” Sarah said, “Good, I thought for sure we were in trouble.”
“I don’t think that’s turbulence,” Justin said.
Sarah and I turned and looked at him. Justin was staring out of the window at something I had hoped I wouldn’t see again for a long time. Flying next to the plane, it couldn’t have been more than a few feet from our window, was the dragon that we had buried in Los Angeles, one of his massive, demon like eyes looking into the plane at us. It had a number of fresh scars from when we fought it, but it looked as determined as ever to kill us.
“Excuse me,” a woman said, “I’ll have to ask you to please fasten your seatbelts now.” I ignored her.
The dragon let loose a massive roar. It reared back a bit as if it was preparing to fly off and leave us alone, but I knew that we couldn’t be that lucky. “Hold on,” I yelled, much to the attendant’s surprise.
As suddenly as it had curled away, the dragon whipped toward the plane, slamming into its side and causing a loud bang that sounded like a train falling off of the tracks. The plane lurched in the opposite direction this time. Me and my friends each grabbed onto the armrests of our seats and were barely held in place as the plane moved. The attendant was thrown from her feet to who knew where. The passengers who had their seatbelts fastened remained in place, terrified beyond rational thought, but safe.
The plane leveled out after a moment, passengers and attendants picking themselves up off of the floor. The majority of the passengers began to scream and complain about the trip while the attendants attempted to calm them down. The three of us got out of our seats and stood in the aisle, searching for where the dragon might hit next time. I was too busy wondering where the dragon went to worry about the fact that we were being told to sit down and fasten our seatbelts.
“Where’d it go,” Justin yelled.
“I don’t know,” Sarah yelled back, “I was too busy trying to stay alive to worry about it.”
I heard another roar, this time coming from somewhere behind the plane. “Hang on again,” I yelled.
We were standing in the aisle between rows of seats, which each of us grabbed onto. As we did, another bang erupted from the back of the plane and the whole thing went forward. I felt like gravity had disappeared as the plane began to descend towards the earth. The pilots began yelling something about a crash landing, but I couldn’t hear over the sound of the passenger’s screams.
I tried to yell to my friends to hang on for the last time, but I was too late. The plane hit something, which sounded like water, and skirted over it. I was able to keep myself anchored to the floor by holding fast onto the seats on either side of me, but Justin and Sarah weren’t as lucky. The two of them fell forward as the plane stopped suddenly. Sarah managed to grab onto the bottom of a seat before she could go anywhere, but Justin slid towards the front of the plane, bouncing between the rows on either side of him until I eventually lost sight of him as the plane slowed to a stop.
I let go of the seats next to me and fell to my knees, the sudden pressure change taking its toll on me. Actually I was surprised that we had managed to survive the fall without a decent oxygen source, but I guessed that being half god probably helped us there. The same couldn’t be said for the rest of the passengers and crew. A small number of them were alive and well, having been strapped in their seats with an oxygen mask over their face, but as for the rest, well let’s just say that they were nowhere to be found.
I stood up and helped Sarah get to her feet as well. After a moment, Justin appeared at the end of the aisle we were in, having managed to pull himself into a standing position. He looked pretty shaken up from his tumble, but didn’t seem to have any serious injuries. Despite that, he was still walking up to us with a limp, although he was clearly faking it.
“Ah, my leg,” Justin said trying his best to look like he was injured.
Sarah hit him. “Will you knock it off,” she said, “This is serious.”
I surveyed the damage the dragon had caused while the two of them fought, Justin saying something about trying to liven things up a bit. Only a few mortals had managed to survive the landing, the rest were nowhere to be seen. The one’s that had gotten through safely weren’t in too good of shape though. I would have liked to help them, but there wasn’t much that I could do. Ambrosia wasn’t effective against mortals and none of us knew anything about actual healing, Justin knew a bit, being a son of Apollo, but it wasn’t enough to be of any real help. Really, the only trouble that anyone was actually in was from the dragon and he was after us, so the best thing we could do was try to get as far away as possible.
“Where are we,” Sarah asked, her and Justin finally ending their little fight.
I looked toward the window, but all I could see was a thick layer of dirt and dust covering it and all of the windows for that matter. I tried to walk to the window and wipe the dust off of it, but before I could move, the plane tilted forward a bit, causing the three of us to lose our balance. It was happening slowly, but I could feel the plane sinking downward ever so slightly as if it had landed in a patch of quicksand.
“We need to get out of here,” I said.
Justin was about to speak up when several windows toward the front of the plane shattered and water began pouring into the cabin. The three of us ran towards the tail of the plane, to the nearest door, as surviving passengers began screaming and rushing to whatever exits they could find. The attendants tried to calm the passengers and get them out in an orderly fashion, but they had little luck.
In the midst of the confusion, my friends and I got a door opened. The storm was still raging outside of the plane, but I wasn’t very concerned with it at the moment. Even the water around the plane was stirring wildly as if challenging the sky to come and mess with it. Maybe Zeus and Poseidon were having a bit of a brotherly quarrel.
I jumped from the plane into the water. As I broke the surface of the water, waves churning around me, I caught sight of land several feet away from me. I had no idea where I was, but the sooner I got out of the water the better. I swam for the shore, hearing two splashes behind me as Justin and Sarah followed.
The churning water felt like it was trying to drown me as I swam for land. This on top of the fact that I wasn’t a very strong swimmer made it almost impossible to get anywhere. Every time I felt like the shore was getting closer, a wave would hit me and push me back. Despite the effort, I swam forward, inching my way closer to the shore until I found myself crawling up a small beach. I fell onto the sand as I pulled myself out of the surf and lay on my back staring up at the sky and the storm clouds, the rain beating against my body. Sarah and Justin joined me, and the three of us lay like that for what felt like hours.
“Are we still alive,” Justin asked after a time.
“I think so,” Sarah said.
I sat up silently and looked at the plane. Since we had escaped to the shore, several rescue boats and a chopper had appeared at the crash site, the plane now half submerged in the water. Despite the danger that the storm presented, rescue workers moved in and out of the plane, pulling survivors out and taking them to safety. I watched the scene for a long time until the chopper and most of the boats were gone.
“Where are we,” Sarah asked.
“Good question,” I said. I looked all around us, but all I could see was beach and emptiness. “I have no idea.”
“Maybe that could help,” Justin said.
He pointed off into the distance at a city that could barely be seen in the distance. It took me some time, considering I hadn’t been there in nearly four years, to realize that I was looking at Manhattan’s towering skyscrapers in the distance. By some stroke of luck, we had actually crash landed right next to New York City. And even though I had never been there, I knew where we had to be.
“This is Long Island,” I said, “We actually made it.”
A smile crossed over my friend’s faces, and mine, and the three of us began whooping and celebrating, not only the fact that we were alive, but also that we were right where we needed to be. Once we made it to Camp Half-Blood, we could finally be somewhere the dragon couldn’t get to us, hopefully. We could get something to eat too and stop having to worry about looking over our shoulders all the time.
I was just reveling in how nice it would be to get some food in my stomach when our celebrating was cut short. I heard the dragon roar in the distance, and I looked up to try and find him. Unfortunately, the dark clouds and the rain made it impossible to see much of anything that might be flying up in the sky. Regardless of whether or not I could see it though, I knew that it was close by.
“We need to run,” I yelled over the rain.
We started to run down the beach, but the dragon landed as we were about to. It stared at us, its teeth showing as it growled, a low, deep noise that shook the sand beneath us. Its maw opened and it let out another roar that must have caused an earthquake back in Manhattan. I didn’t have to be able to sense what monsters were thinking to know what that dragon was trying to tell us. We weren’t getting away this time.
“Oh boy,” Justin yelled as the three of us drew our weapons, “My favorite monster!”
We charged at it as the beast breathed fire at us. I managed to form a shield that protected us from its flames. I sent the shade at the dragon and it slammed into its face, causing the monster to stumble backwards a few steps. That gave us the chance to attack. Justin fired several arrows at the underside of the dragon’s head, which all connected and pierced the soft skin there. Sarah stabbed her dagger into the back of the dragon’s left leg, finding a spot where she could slide the blade in between the beast’s scales. I ran under the monster and stabbed Heartstopper into its chest as deep as I could push it.
The dragon roared and protested at the pain. Its skin and scales began turning to dust where our weapons had found chinks in his armor and for a moment I thought that we had actually managed to kill it. Then the monster whipped around and swung its tail at us, hitting the three of us in turn and throwing us onto the ground so that we were separated from each other. I tried to stand, but the dragon placed itself directly over me. I was trapped.
The dragon looked down at me with what I could only describe as a smile and I imagined it laughing as it looked at me helplessly trying to get away from it. The dragon opened its maw and its head shot at me. Luckily I was able to put a shield up that the monster slammed into. It hit the shield again and again as it tried to finish me off, each taking a tax on my strength, but I held the shadows in front of me for as long as I could.
The dragon smashed into the shield again and I felt the last of my strength melting away as the darkness dispersed in front of me. I thought that was it for sure, but before the dragon could snap at me again, an arrow pierced his eye and before he could even protest the pain, Sarah came out of nowhere and stabbed Truth into his other eye. The dragon roared in frustration and dust particles rained down on me and were immediately washed away by the rain.
Sarah pulled her dagger from the dragon as it reared back, roaring in pain and blasting jets of flame in every direction. She helped me to my feet and Justin appeared next to me. The three of us got ready to rush the monster again, but we stopped. The beast looked in every direction, unable to see, and shot fire randomly in hopes that it might hit us. The monster’s wings flared outward and it took flight, soaring through the air above us and flying over the sound. It landed on the tail end of the plane that was just barely remaining afloat out in the treacherous waters.
The dragon continued to flail around like a child on a tantrum. It shot fire in every direction, lighting small flames on the surface of the water where fuel from the plane had leaked from its tank. As I stood there watching the small fires ignite, an idea occurred to me. This could be my only chance to finish this monster off.
Before I could put my plan into action, Justin grabbed my wrist. “Come on,” he yelled over the sound of the waves, rain, and thunder, “We need to get going.”
I looked out at the dragon, still looking confused in its fury. This was our chance to run, to get away from this thing, but what good would that do? Eventually, it would calm down and realize that it could track us by smell. What if we hadn’t found Camp Half-Blood by that time? Sure, we might be able to get there and be safe before the dragon came to his senses, but we still had no idea where the camp was and I wasn’t going risk us getting eaten before we could find it.
I pulled myself out of Justin’s grip. “Not yet,” I said, “I’m ending this now.”
The look in his eyes, as well as Sarah’s, made it obvious that they thought I was crazy, but they didn’t protest my actions. I walked down to the surf until my feet were submerged whenever a wave came in. I concentrated on the darkness that hung above the sound. I formed a shade and used it to hit the dragon on its side. Just as I had hoped, the beast turned to the shade and shot a jet of flames into the empty abyss.
I summoned another shade. I just needed it to attack at a different angle. The shade flew under the dragon and flew up towards its head, slamming into it, and causing the dragon to rear back as if he had been hit by an uppercut. The beast roared and let loose a jet of flames up into the sky. Its head tilted downward until the flames were engulfing the entire tail of the plane.
I watched as the outside of the plane began to melt, and a feeling of dread came over me as I thought that my plan would fail. Then a loud boom shook the shore and sent waves out from the water. The plane exploded all at once and a massive spectacle of flaming metal chunks flew into the air and rained down on the world around it. The dragon was completely engulfed by the explosion.
The ground shook from the force and the three of us fell onto our butts. I kept my eyes on the spot where the dragon had been, half expecting to see him emerge from underwater somewhere and take flight towards me. I watched until there was nothing left of the explosion aside from a few small fires on the surface of the water that were burning from the plane’s remaining fuel. The dragon was finally dead.
I sat there for a long time still, watching the sound, wondering if I had really managed to do it. The storm never stopped and the water never calmed. As I watched it, I could almost imagine Zeus descending from the sky, his master bolt in hand, coming down and crossing weapons with Poseidon who had emerged from the depths of the sound with his trident raised in challenge to his brother. Even imagining the two of them had me scared silly of what they might do to me if we ever met.
Sarah and Justin appeared next to me after a time and helped me to my feet. “Hirius,” Sarah said as she hugged me, “That was incredible.” She smiled as she pulled away, which was when she added, “Don’t ever do it again.”
“No promises,” I said. I managed a smile of my own, but I was still weak from the effort of fighting the dragon. I was recovering well enough since the sun had now set, plunging the world into darkness, but I wasn’t recovering the way I normally would. It felt more difficult to draw the shadows in for some reason. Maybe it had something to do with Zeus, or Poseidon.
“Well if you two are done,” Justin said suddenly, “We should probably get going. Where is this camp anyway?”
I shook my head. “I don’t know,” I said, “All I have to go on are my dreams.”
“Great,” Justin said, “So we’ll be searching all of Long Island to find it then.”
“I don’t think we have the time,” Sarah said, “Look.”
I turned to the horizon where she was pointing and my first thought was, can we ever catch a break? At the edge of my vision, too far for most people to see, but still barely visible, was a line of…well, something. Okay, so I couldn’t see them clearly, but I was sure that I was looking at a whole army of monsters. There was everything from hellhounds, to Cyclopes, to Scythian Dracanae, to who knows what else, all in a line, and all marching straight towards us.
None of us had to say anything; we all knew the procedure by then. We ran straight down the beach away from the army of monsters. They wouldn’t have been a problem, except that we had absolutely no idea where we were going and, because of that, the army gained ground on us faster than I would have liked.
I looked around for anything that seemed familiar from my dreams. The sound, the group of cabins, that house they called the Big House, the strawberry fields, anything really, but there was nothing like that anywhere near us. Then I saw it, directly ahead of us, I caught sight of a hill, on top of which was a single pine tree. I had only seen it once in my dreams, but I recognized it as Half-Blood Hill, the entrance to the camp.
“There,” I yelled pointing to the hill, “Go There!”
It was kind of unnecessary since we were already going that way, but I thought I should make it clear. The army of monsters was right on our heels, far enough that we were outrunning them, but close enough to catch up if we stopped for even a second. Half-Blood Hill was just a few more feet, just a few more feet.
We reached the hill and climbed it fast. I was out of breath by the time we made it to the top. I knelt over and placed a hand on the pine tree. That was when I felt something strange. I could feel something in that tree, something alive. Okay, so I knew that trees were considered living things, but I had never known a tree to actually feel like it was alive. No, this was different. It was human, almost like the tree was possessed by someone’s spirit. And it felt vaguely familiar as well.
“Hirius,” Justin said, his voice small, “You have to see this, its…its…”
He trailed off. I looked up and down the hill, expecting to see the happy little demigod camp that I had seen in my dreams so many times, but instead I saw…nothing. The other side of the hill was completely empty, no cabins, no Big House, no strawberry fields, no anything, just a big open field, an empty beach, and the sound that still looked like it was ready to go to war with the sky.
“No,” I said, “It can’t be…it…” I trailed off.
Justin was too out of breath to say anymore than he had. He just kept looking on at the empty field in front of us like he expected a camp to magically appear at any moment, which wouldn’t have surprised me. Sarah dropped her dagger, fell to her knees and began sobbing into her hands, despair finally taking the better of her. I was left stunned with disbelief. We had come all that way, escaped a dragon, survived a plane crash, and finally killed the dragon, just to find a big empty field!? It wasn’t fair, it just wasn’t fair!
“What are we supposed to do now,” Sarah yelled between her sobbing.
An arrow soared past my face and impaled the tree next to me, the presence inside protesting at the pain. I looked behind us. The army of monsters had reached the foot of the hill now and was watching us, waiting for an order to attack. I saw all manner of monsters, including a massive lizard like creature much like the dragon, but smaller and with no wings. The beast was held back by several chains that were manned by more than a few Cyclopes and Lastrygonian giants. I recognized the monster as a drakon, though I wasn’t sure what kind it was.
Anger consumed me as I looked down at the army. It wasn’t because of the empty field we had found in place of the camp we had hoped for, it wasn’t because we were about to die and there was nothing that we could do about it, it wasn’t because I was so sick and tired of all of the bullshit that I had been put through by Hades, it was because of the monster that I saw at the head of the army. Standing in front of all of the others, holding a massive two handed battle-axe and wearing fruit of the loom underwear for some odd reason was the monster that I wanted to kill more than any other, the Minotaur.
As I looked into the eyes of the half-bull, half-man creature, the rest of the world melted away. Everything that I wanted, everything that I had hoped for was gone. All that mattered was that the monster that killed my mother was standing less than a stone’s throw away and I finally had my chance at it. I didn’t care if I never found Emily, I didn’t care that we were about to die, all I wanted now was to end that beast.
The Minotaur snorted, bellowed, and pointed his weapon up the hill at us. The rest of the monsters, not including the drakon, ran around him and charged up the hill. Sarah and Justin were still distracted by the field. I watched the army of monsters coming closer and closer to us. They were halfway up the hill when I summoned my sword and charged them. If I was going to die here, then I was going to go down fighting.
I ran forward and slashed several hellhounds to dust as they attacked me. I dodged a Cyclopes and cut it in two, ending the first wave of their attack. I didn’t slow down. Instead, I charged down the hill at the whole of the army and let out a battle cry so vicious that even the gods themselves would have quaked in fear. I dodged past swords, teeth, and claws, hacking monsters apart with every move and using my powers to keep them at bay or destroy them all together.
I heard Justin and Sarah charge the army as well, diving into the thick of the battle, but I was too focused to see what had become of them. The drakon at the back of the army let out several roars and I heard it struggling to break free of his chains and have himself a demigod dinner, but the monsters continued to hold him back, waiting for the right time to turn him loose.
I slashed apart another Cyclopes, losing count of how many monsters I had actually killed, and the army backed away from me. I would have charged again, but something was pushing its way through the thick of them. The Minotaur came into the circle that the army had formed around me and stood with his axe ready to defend. He snorted at me like he was angry, a clear challenge.
I didn’t waste any time with him. I charged forward and slashed at the monster, my sword colliding with his axe. We disengaged and the Minotaur swung his axe down on me, but I was able to avoid it. The weapon dug into the ground and cut a hole into the earth. The Minotaur snorted in anger, lifted his axe and charged at me, his head down like an angry bull’s
I rolled to the side and swung Heartstopper. The tip of the blade connected and cut into the monster’s side. The beast let out a bellow of anger and fell on his side, dropping his axe as he did. Dust fell from the wound as the monster tried to stand. I wouldn’t give him the chance. I ran forward, but I was too reckless. Before I could attack, the monster turned, swinging his massive arm, and hit me away from him like he was swatting a bug away from his face. I flew into the air and hit the ground near the top of the hill. I rolled over onto my stomach and tried to stand again, but I was spent.
I looked up, my vision blurry, as the Minotaur pushed through the army of monsters and appeared at their head, his axe back in his hands. On either side of the monster, I saw my friends. Sarah was pinned to the ground by a hellhound, using one arm to hold the beast back and reaching for her dagger, which had fallen to the ground several feet from her, with her free hand. Justin, having lost his bow somehow, was pulling arrows from his quiver and stabbing them into any monster that attacked him. He was backing away from the army as he did, but it was clear that he would soon have nowhere to go.
The Minotaur walked up to me slowly, a smile, or what appeared to be one, on his face. I could picture him saying, ‘first your mother and now you,’ as he moved toward me. I tried to stand again, my anger giving me a fresh wave of energy, but I couldn’t. I tried to recover by drawing in the shadows, but it was impossible to concentrate. I was as a good as dead. And I had barely even put a scratch on the Minotaur.
The monster stood over me and looked down at me as if waiting for me to beg for mercy. I tried to speak up, to control it, but I couldn’t find my voice. The Minotaur lifted his axe, but before he brought it down, three arrows struck and pierced his shoulder. The monster bellowed in pain and dropped his weapon. He fell back several feet and looked up to the top of the hill.
Before I could register what had happened, a flurry of arrows soared over me, having been shot from somewhere behind me. The arrows flew into the thick of the army, a few hitting the hellhound that had Sarah pinned down, but the rest hitting the monsters at the front line. The Minotaur, realizing the danger, began to retreat and the army of monsters followed his lead.
As they did, I looked behind me and saw a large group of what I could only guess was demigods since they were all around my age and all of them were wearing ancient Greek battle armor and sporting various kinds of celestial bronze weapons. A tall, muscular looking girl with long brunette hair holding a celestial bronze tipped spear that appeared to be electrified led the group as they charged down the hill at the fleeing monsters. Some of the demigods stopped to help Justin and Sarah, but the rest chased after the fleeing army, catching several of them before they got away, but none got to the Minotaur or the drakon.
I felt my head beginning to spin and my vision began to fade fast. Before I passed out, a girl with long blond hair ran over and knelt down next to me. She looked familiar, but I couldn’t quite place her name. At first, I was sure that it was Sarena, but this girl was too young, even if she did look like Sarena had when I had seen her in Morenci. Then I recognized her as the girl I had seen in my dreams one time, the one that was one of Sarena’s sisters.
“My gods,” the girl said, “I need a medic over here quick!”
As my vision faded away, the girl’s name came to me and slipped through my lips. “Annabeth,” I said my voice barely audible. Then the world went black.